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Business Sector Action to Drive Carbon Market Cooperation in Northeast Asia

Editors: Jackson Ewing and Minyoung Shin

The expansion of carbon markets in China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea have laid the foundation for discussions on potential carbon market cooperation within Northeast Asia, and the role of the private sector is vital for achieving success in this space, according to a new Asia Society Policy Institute and KPMG Samjong report. The authors present how carbon market linkage within China, Japan, and Korea could take place in unison with industry preferences.


Can a Modernized U.S. Development Finance Institution Help Close the Energy Financing Gap?

Authors: Jonathan Phillips, Hannah Girardeau, and Harry Masters

Government-sponsored development finance institutions (DFIs) have become key delivery mechanisms for poverty alleviation and the exercise of soft power. A reformed and fully equipped U.S. DFI would directly provide billions of dollars in additional energy sector investment and would catalyze many billions more in private investment. With earnest and bipartisan consensus building around U.S. development finance reform, this policy brief seeks to summarize the importance of energy sector finance in the context of development and foreign policy, to outline the energy financing gaps in emerging markets, and to analyze how the new tools and authorities proposed under the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act (BUILD Act) legislation would equip the U.S. DFI to respond to those financing needs.


China’s New National Carbon Market

Authors: William A. Pizer and Xiliang Zhang

This article in the journal AEA Papers and Proceedings reviews the policy context and initial program design of China’s new national emissions trading system. It explains the design of China’s new carbon market, contrasts it with western markets, and highlights possible implications. The article reflects some of the findings in the working paper “China’s New National Carbon Market,” published by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.


Managing Dynamic Change in the Midwestern Power Sector: Power Shift Midwestern Regional Workshop

Authors: Kate Konschnik

Market-shifts, technological innovation, and clean energy policies are driving a fundamental transformation of the U.S. power sector. This proceedings describes four critical grid issues in the Midwest discussed at the Power Shift's Minnesota meeting: evolving stakeholder processes, power sector fleet transfer, the impact of electric cars on the grid, and responses to changing consumer demand. The range of potential research inspired by the discussion—including whether state regulatory processes help or hinder big shifts underway on the grid, how state climate goals affect regional generation patterns, how stakeholder processes and market trends interact, whether utilities should attempt to spark demand for electric vehicles, and whether customer demands or public policies are driving innovation—points to the sea change in the U.S. power sector.

Regional Implications of National Carbon Taxes

Author: Martin Ross

This analysis published in the journal Climate Change Economics examines impacts of nationally-imposed carbon taxes on different regions of the United States. The goal is to see what can be learned about the drivers of regional political support for and opposition to such measures. Whether at the state, regional or national levels, carbon taxes are one option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; several state and regional programs are already under way and lowering emissions. This analysis uses a U.S. regional version of the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model (DIEM) computable general equilibrium model to explore relationships between carbon taxes, emissions, and economic growth.


The Future of the Electricity Industry: Implications of Trends and Taxes

Author: Martin Ross

This analysis published in the journal Energy Economics examines how changes in market trends and technology costs are likely to affect electricity generation in the United States in the context of possible future carbon taxes. It uses the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model (DIEM) electricity-sector model to examine a wide range of sensitivity cases for technology and fuel costs under different economic conditions. The model finds that carbon taxes can be an effective way to quickly lower emissions. Shifts among natural gas and renewable generation can vary significantly, depending on capital and operating costs.


A Spatially-Resolved Inventory Analysis of the Water Consumed by the Coal-to-Gas Transition of Pennsylvania

Authors: Sarah Jordaan, Lauren Patterson, Laura Diaz Anadon

In the Journal of Cleaner Production, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Lauren Patterson and her co-authors look at changes in water consumption related to transitions from coal to natural gas in Pennsylvania from 2009 to 2012. The study provides the first comprehensive representation of changing water consumption patterns associated with the state’s coal-to-gas transition at a watershed level for both extraction of the resources to the generation of electricity with coal and natural gas.


Reducing Fugitive Methane Emissions from the North American Oil and Gas Sector: A Proposed Science-Policy Framework

Authors: Kate Konschnik and Sarah Marie Jordaan

Atmospheric methane concentrations continue to increase globally, despite a pledge in 2016 from the leaders of the United States, Canada, and Mexico to reduce methane emissions from each country’s oil and gas sector. Additionally, the trilateral methane pledge faces more challenges as the Trump Administration seeks to reverse federal methane research and control efforts. Efforts to measure and control fugitive methane emissions do not presently proceed within a coherent framework that integrates science and policy. A new article in the journal Climate Policy suggests that collectively or individually, the countries, individual agencies, or private stakeholders could use the proposed North American Methane Reduction framework to direct research, enhance monitoring and evaluate mitigation efforts, and improve the chances that continental methane reduction targets will be achieved.


Water Stress from High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Potentially Threatens Aquatic Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Arkansas, United States

Authors: Sally Entrekin , Anne Trainor, James Saiers, Lauren Patterson, Kelly Maloney, Joseph Fargione, Joseph Kiesecker, Sharon Baruch-Mordo, Katherine Konschnik, Hannah Wiseman, Jean-Philippe Nicot, and Joseph N. Ryan

Demand for high-volume, short duration water withdrawals could create water stress to aquatic organisms in the Fayetteville Shale streams of Arkansas sourced for hydraulic fracturing fluids this article in the journal Environmental Science and Technology suggests. Authors estimate potential water stress using permitted water withdrawal volumes and actual water withdrawals compared to monthly median, low, and high streamflows. Findings indicate that freshwater usage for hydraulic fracturing could potentially affect aquatic organisms in 7-51 percent of the catchments depending on the month. If 100 percent of wastewater was recycled, the potential impact drops. Authors suggest that improved monitoring and access to water withdrawal and streamflow data are needed to ensure protection of streams not only as sources of drinking water, but aquatic habitats.


Implications of Sustainable Development Considerations for Comparability across Nationally Determined Contributions

Authors: Gokul Iyer, Katherine Calvin, Leon Clarke, James Edmonds, Nathan Hulman, Corinne Hartin, Haewon McJeon, Joseph Aldy, and William Pizer

An important component of the Paris Agreement is the assessment of comparability across nationally determined contributions. Links between mitigation and other societal priorities, including but not limited to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, raises the question of how such links might influence comparability assessments. Using a global integrated assessment model, this analysis in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that accounting for interactions between mitigation and other Sustainable Development Goals would alter comparability assessments. The analysis provides a foundation for assessing how comparability across nationally determined contributions could be better understood in the larger context of sustainability.

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